RAWALPINDI: With only eight days left in the Eid-ul-Azha, buyers flocking cattle markets in Rawalpindi are left with little option, but to return home without buying sacrificial animals. Residents, who arrived here at Bhatta Chowk sale point along with their jubilant children, told APP on Tuesday that the animal sellers were demanding exorbitant prices which were beyond their purchasing power. Ghais Haider, a buyer at the market, said that last year he purchased a small goat of 25 kilograms for Rs 30,000, but now the same animal was being sold at up to Rs 60,000 which showed that the rate of sacrificial animals had gone up by 100 percent. Riaz Abbasi, another buyer, at Adiala Road market said the rates of goats, sheep, buffalos, and cows were inflated, forcing the people to go home empty-handed. He said buffalos and cows of 160 kilograms, which were available at up to Rs 120,000 last year, were being sold at up to Rs 200,000 this year. Riaz called upon the district administration to take steps to save the public from fleecing of sellers. When contacted, President Jamiat Ul Quresh Pakistan Khursheed Ahmed Qureshi told that the major cause of the increase in prices of animals was due to demand and supply gap. He informed APP that animals’ production had witnessed a steep decline during the previous years as the departments concerned had failed to adopt a comprehensive policy to boost production of halal meat, resulting in Rs 400 per kg increase in mutton prices and Rs300 per kg in beef prices during the last one year. Giving details about the online shopping of sacrificial animals, Qureshi, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of Livestock and Dairy Development Directorate said online shopping of sacrificial had reached up to 70 percent due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding people were preferring online platforms. He said that the use of online platforms to purchase sacrificial animals could also be another reason for small crowds at the cattle markets, adding online companies offering a goat of 14 kg at Rs 32,000 and 14 kg of share in cows or buffaloes at Rs 15,000. Wasif Chaudhry, a calf seller from Rajanpur, said the rise in transportation charges, cost of animal breeding, and bribes collected by the police and officials of various departments led to the increase in the animal prices.